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Working as an engineer in Germany

Expatrio 2024-07-12
Two male engineers in Germany talk to each other


Are you an engineer looking to take your career to the next level? Imagine working in a country where engineering is not just a job, but a driving force for a world-leading economy. Welcome to Germany – the land of innovation, precision, and engineering excellence. Whether you're interested in advanced automotive design, renewable energy projects or groundbreaking IT solutions – there's a place for you in Germany.

Strong economy for expat engineers in Germany

Germany is a big deal in Europe. It's got the largest economy on the continent and the fourth largest in the world. This strong and stable economy makes Germany a key player in global economics.

Leading industries for engineers in Germany

Germany is famous for its premium car brands such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. These companies are known for their high standards of engineering and innovation. The automotive industry is an important part of the German economy and offers many opportunities for engineers.

When it comes to machinery and industrial equipment, Germany is a world leader. The country is known for its precision engineering and high-quality manufacturing. This sector is also a major employer of engineering talent.

Germany is also a leader in renewable energy. The country has invested heavily in wind, solar and other renewable energy sources as part of its energy transition policy. This commitment to green energy creates many jobs for engineers who want to work on innovative and sustainable projects.

Big European names to know as an engineering employee

  • Volkswagen is one of the largest car companies in the world. It owns well-known brands such as VW, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini. Working for Volkswagen means being part of a global leader in the automotive industry.
  • Siemens is a giant in electronics and electrical engineering. They focus on automation, digitalization and electrification. If you're an engineer interested in these areas, Siemens is a great place to work.
  • Bosch provides engineering and technology solutions in a variety of sectors, including mobility, industrial technology, consumer goods and energy. It's another great employer for engineers in Germany.

High demand for engineering jobs in Germany

Germany is facing a significant shortage of skilled workers in several engineering fields. This shortage is caused by an aging workforce, rapid technological advances and a booming economy that requires more engineering expertise. Germany is focused on maintaining its industrial strength and driving digitalization, renewable energy and infrastructure development. This means that the demand for engineering talent will continue to grow.

Mechanical engineering

Germany's manufacturing and automotive industries rely heavily on mechanical engineers. These professionals design and maintain the machinery and vehicles that keep these industries running.

Electrical engineering

With the rise of renewable energy projects, smart grid technology and advances in electronics, electrical engineers are in high demand. Germany's commitment to green energy and technological innovation makes it a great place for electrical engineers to thrive.

Software engineering

As more and more industries go digital, there's a growing need for software engineers. Demand is high across many industries, including automotive, finance and telecom.

Civil engineering

Germany's ongoing infrastructure projects and urban development require civil engineers to design, build and maintain essential structures and systems. From roads and bridges to buildings and water systems, civil engineers play a vital role in shaping the country's landscape.

Qualifications and skills for your engineering career in Germany

Foreign degree recognition

If you have a degree from another country, you may need to have it officially recognized in Germany. This ensures your degree meets German standards. The process can be different depending on your field of study and where your degree is from. Websites like ANABIN and the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) can help you with this.

Language skills

Even though English is often the language of choice in many workplaces, especially in international companies, knowing German can really help you in your job search. This is especially true for smaller companies or jobs where you will be interacting with clients, colleagues or the public.

There are many ways to learn German. Online courses such as Duolingo and Babbel are great. Language schools like the Goethe-Institut offer structured classes. You can also check local community colleges for classes.

Technical and soft skills

German employers value technical skills. They need people who are good with CAD (computer-aided design) software, programming languages like Java, Python, C++, and project management methods such as Agile and Scrum. Improving these skills can help you get a job.

Besides the technical stuff, soft skills are also important. Employers are looking for people who can work well in a team, communicate well, solve problems and adapt to change. These skills will help you work well with others and deal with new challenges.

EngineerING Card

The Engineering Card is a handy tool that makes it easier for engineers to get their qualifications recognized and to work in different EU countries, including Germany. It’s a standard certification that shows your engineering skills and experience. In Germany, the VDI is one of the organizations that issues the EngineerING Card. You can find more information and start your application on their website.

You'll get a lot of benefits with the EngineerING Card:

  • The EngineerING Card is a great way to ensure that your engineering qualifications as a foreigner are recognized throughout Europe.
  • It'll also make it easier for you to move between EU countries.
  • Having an EngineerING Card can really help your job prospects. It adds credibility, trust and makes you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.
  • The card uses a standardized format that is easy for employers and authorities to understand, reducing the bureaucratic challenges that foreign engineers often face.

Engineer salaries in Germany

If you're thinking about working as an engineer in Germany, you'll be pleased to know that salaries are competitive. Industries such as automotive, IT and finance often pay higher salaries than others such as construction or public sector engineering. Cities with a high cost of living such as Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, usually offer higher salaries to compensate for the cost of living. Salaries may be lower in smaller towns or rural areas.

Job Entry-level (per year) Experienced (per year)
Mechanical Engineers
€ 45,000 to € 55,000
€ 60,000 to € 80,000
Electrical Engineers
€ 45,000 to € 55,000
over € 70,000
Software Engineers
€  50,000 to €  60,000
€ 80,000 to € 100,000
Civil Engineers
€  40,000 to € 50,000
€ 60,000 to € 75,000


Working as an engineer in Germany: Visa and residence permit

If you're not from the EU, you'll need a visa or work permit to work in Germany. You'll usually need to show that you have a job offer from a German employer and that you meet certain qualifications. The EU Blue Card is for highly skilled workers. It has lots of benefits such as allowing you to live and work in Germany and other EU countries. It also makes it easier to get permanent residence after a few years. The card is usually valid for four years and can be renewed. To get it, you need a university degree and a job offer with a salary above a certain amount.

After living and working in Germany for a few years (usually five), you may be able to apply for permanent residence. You'll need to show proof of income, have a good place to live, health insurance and social security contributions. Getting German citizenship takes longer – you need to live in Germany for at least eight years (or seven if you complete an integration course). You'll also must be able to speak German, be financially stable, understand the German legal and social system and often give up your previous citizenship(s). However, there are some exceptions.

Work culture in Germany

Being on time is very important in Germany. Whether it's for meetings, starting work or social events – punctuality shows respect and professionalism. Meetings in Germany are pretty well-organized with clear agendas and goals. They focus on being efficient and usually start and end on time. Germans like to communicate directly and clearly. They appreciate it when you get to the point quickly, whether you're speaking or writing. Being clear helps avoid confusion and shows respect for their time.

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